Microloans and Information Capital
By stern on Jun 18, 2007
It was that talk that started my periodic purchase of a cup of coffee for homeless people sitting outside on cold winter days. If I can spend $5 on multiple Dunkies visits, I can also spend a buck or two to keep someone warm. Microgiving. I joked at times that an "I Give A Buck" campaign, aggregating and distributing those dollars, would be feasible. Muhammed Yunus won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics for proving that microcredit is both effective and a real concept.
Kiva is a great example of what Sun calls bridging the Digital Divide. It's not about moving large sums of money, but moving practical sums of information to those most in need. A $100 million budget doesn't help someone who needs $300, if the money can't be delivered in local currency on short notice. Matching the source of $300, possibly from a dozen sub-$50 lenders, to the borrower is an informational problem; that's the digital divide in real-world, proper-sized granularity. Information is capital, in the sense that it can be used to create value, has forward and time value (both decreasing) and can be exchanged. And information is the capital for the digital divide.